Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1122/32096
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Tory and Labour foodbank shame
Look at this. Shame on Waltham Forest Labour council. This is a photo of a food bank queue at Wood Street with over two hours to go before it opens, that was shared in a local Facebook group.
I'm heartbroken to see it, but that's not enough. What are we going to do about the do-nothing council, which insist that it's helpless in the face of cruel cruel cuts? We need an alternative, and that absolutely isn't the Tories. A no-cuts alternative.
Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Waltham Forest, east London
Do not stay silent
The suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the Parliamentary Labour Party could be an historical turning point. If the whip is restored to Jeremy Corbyn, the left would still be on the back foot.
If Keir Starmer succeeds in permanently excluding Corbyn, then the Labour Party would be finished as a vehicle for substantial social change for a generation. Tens of thousands of members have already resigned from the Labour Party since Starmer became leader.
I would be pleased if Corbyn wins his court case. But I would be far, far happier if he was reinstated as a result of pressure exerted by members of Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) and affiliated trades unions.
Can we really be happy about the internal affairs of our party being decided by the state? Would we really want a (metaphorical) police officer attending every meeting to ensure that the rulebook is observed?
If Corbyn can only be reinstated on the instructions of a judge, then we will have lost. The left in the Labour Party is beset by weakness of spirit.
We are too frightened of what may happen to us if we speak out. The roads in Harlow named after Nelson Mandela and Salvador Allende are a reminder that in some parts of the world, in certain periods, our comrades have faced imprisonment, torture, and execution.
What is the worst thing that could happen to a CLP officer if he or she spoke out in support of Jeremy Corbyn? Suspension from the Labour Party is a lot less dangerous to your health than suspension from a gallows.
There is nothing to stop Labour councillors speaking out in defence of Jeremy Corbyn. There is no rule under which they could be disciplined for doing so.
When people ask us what we did to support Jeremy Corbyn, will we have to shamefacedly admit that we kept quiet, and condemned yet another generation to suffer the slings and arrows of unconstrained capitalism?
John Wake, Harlow Labour member
Tories make the most vulnerable pay
Tory-led Wokingham Borough Council has decided to increase the care costs for my severely autistic son. Originally there was no charge, then around £25 a month, but now it's gone up by a whopping 436%. Another reason to vote for anti-cuts candidates in the coming elections. Why should the most vulnerable in society pay for a funding crisis created by the banks and the super-rich? The increase in wealth these people have had since the start of the pandemic could pay for social care many times over.
John Gillman, Wokingham
Small parties priced out
Dave Warren, TUSC Wales secretary, penned this complaint to Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales.
"I am writing as secretary of the Wales steering committee of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). TUSC is a registered political party and will be standing candidates in the forthcoming elections to the Senedd (Welsh parliament) on 6 May.
We note the current legal prohibition on door-to-door leafleting for the election and wish to lodge our protest at what we consider to be an attack on a fundamental democratic right - namely the right of political parties to campaign and disseminate its policies.
We are fully aware of the need to restrict the spread of coronavirus, but we note that leafleting by commercial organisations, such as Royal Mail and others, is permitted under current rules.
For some reason leafleting by volunteers is deemed to be unsafe, whereas the same activity on a commercial basis is deemed to be acceptable. A hand pushing a leaflet through a door carries exactly the same risk whether it belongs to a volunteer or a paid worker.
This state of affairs is clearly discriminatory against smaller parties who do not have the financial resources to take advantage of commercial leafleting or advertising, but rely on volunteers. This could be seen as an attempt by the Welsh Government to limit the effectiveness of opposition parties and to silence criticism.
We do not want to be forced into a position where we have to break the law in order to defend a democratic right, but we shall not be deterred from doing so if necessary."
Recruiting to the union from a hospital bed
One attendee at the National Shop Stewards Network meeting (see 'Online workers' rally: Taking fight to the bosses' at socialistparty.org.uk) said: "I'm in hospital recovering from surgery, but still attending this meeting. Every single member of staff who has come to see me today has been given a round-up of this meeting, and I have urged all to join a union."
The Advanced Research and Invention Agency is a brainchild of Dominic Cummings. It will be free from any freedom of information requests.
This raises a legitimate suspicion that the only questions it will ask are: a) Are you a Tory? and b) How many millions do you want?
Up to £800 million of public money will be poured into this body without any accountability. Just the sort of thing the Tories and their cronies adore.
Derek McMillan, Worthing, West Sussex
Praise for the Socialist!
Just wanted to say that I thought the article by Gary Clark, an appraisal of the Royal Mail and Communication Workers Union (CWU) dispute, was excellent. It was one of the best assessments of a dispute in our paper. It was very readable and measured.
Heather Rawling, Leicester
- See 'Royal Mail management forced to make concessions' at socialistparty.org.uk
In The Socialist 24 February 2021:
What we think
Lessons from history
LGBT+ history month